Egg Eaters!! **UPDATE**

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mpc, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. mpc

    mpc Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    22
    May 23, 2007
    Rhode Island
    OK - here's the scoop:

    I have 6 RIR hens I keep in a coop with an attached run. They are just starting to lay, not all of them are laying yet, probably half of them. One of the girls layed an egg without the shell yesterday, which I understand is normal as a hen starts laying.

    I've been getting eggs for a week or two and hadn't had a problem but today when I checked the nests one of the girls was eating an egg. Later in the day I went back out and collected another fresh egg, not eaten. I blew out the inside and filled it with spicy mustard and chilli powder after reading a few posts suggesting that. I placed that in the nest and she was eating it within a few minutes, apparently undeterred by the spiciness.

    Here's what I have been doing: I feed them a commercial layer feed and provide a commercial grit which contains oyster shell. I had been putting golf balls in the nest all along. I have two nests for the 6 hens.

    I have separated the culprit from the flock.

    Besides keeping the culprit segregated for a few days is there anything else I should try??

    Thanks. - Marc
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2007
  2. LynnGrigg

    LynnGrigg Chillin' With My Peeps

    470
    0
    139
    Jun 6, 2007
    Winston Salem, NC
    It's my understanding that chickens can't taste spice. Put plastic eggs and or golf balls in the nest boxes to deter egg cracking.
     
  3. serendipity22

    serendipity22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    619
    0
    149
    Jul 1, 2007
    NC
    I feel your pain. I recently have had this problem spring up. I, like you, have always had the golf balls in my nests. The girls needed reminding as to where to lay the eggs so I left them locked in til early afternoon and someone decided it was fun to eat eggs.

    So, the research that I've found other than making sure that they have ample feed and water, or not be overcrowded, and to pick up the eggs as frequently as possible, is to separate the culprit and then to 'darken' up my nest boxes. I plan on doing that by building out the sides and the roof. And maybe adding curtains or something to shield as much light as possible.

    I really hope you get your problem figured out soon. It's heartbreaking see them damage those precious eggs!
     
  4. akcskye

    akcskye Chillin' With My Peeps

    249
    0
    139
    Apr 11, 2007
    My chiropractor gives his hens cayenne pepper in their feed in the winter so their body temperature stays warmer and they still lay.

    As far as I know, chickens don't detect spice.
     
  5. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    4,273
    80
    271
    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    I'm no expert but try feeding them lots of other good treats like fruits, veggies, dry or canned cat food. Mine love watermelon and shredded cheese and live crickets. Mine also free range around our woods all day. They've just started laying this week but even the first two "poopy" soft eggs were left on cage floor and not eaten though the insides were oozing out. My hens also don't peck one another. It's possible hens that eat one another, feathers, or their eggs may be needing something more nutritional than the commercial dry feed and the eggs taste a lot better. If I were a chicken and those were my only choices - dry chick feed or a nice fresh egg - I'd choose the egg.
     
  6. opihiman911

    opihiman911 Chillin' With My Peeps

    283
    4
    151
    Mar 19, 2007
    I have sucessfully used the both golf ball trick and blowing out the eggs and filling with hot mustard. You can also use those plastic easter eggs and just paint them brown or white.
    While it is true that chickens can eat hot peppers and don't have any taste buds, I think what the deterent is when they get that "yellow yolk" in their nose and eyes and burns the *@#*&%@!!! out of them. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I had one hen that I tried everything, plastic eggs, golf balls, seperating her and giving extra goodies and protein, dark curtians, the whole nine yards, nothing worked and I was ready to send her to the pot. That is when an oldtimer [​IMG] told me about the hot mustard/habanero pepper in the blown out egg. Since I had nothing to lose I tried it. Slipped a pair of doctored up eggs in the nest at night time. In the morning I went and checked, she had broken open one egg and started eating it, she didn't touch the other egg. When I checked on her one eye was swollen shut and she had a runny nose and was sneezing. I kept this up for a week, she broke open one more "mustard" egg and that was the end of it. By the end of the week I was mixing good eggs with the mustard eggs and leaving them there for a day or two as extra temptation. After a week of intesive "therapy" she was returned to the flock and saved from the pot.

    This was one of my few sucessful "chicken rehabs" though. Once they get into any bad habit it is so hard to break them whether it is eagg eating, sleeping in nest box, throwing food, neck pecking. An ounce of prevention from stopping bad habit is the best.

    Hope this helps.

    Aloha,
    Cory
     
  7. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    4,273
    80
    271
    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Aloha Cory - just had to say hi when I saw you were in Kauai. My husband and I were there on our honeymoon 8 years ago. It is so breathtakingly beautiful.
     
  8. opihiman911

    opihiman911 Chillin' With My Peeps

    283
    4
    151
    Mar 19, 2007
    Also forgot to add that make sure they have proper nutrition. Top quality comercial egg feed is a must, but also add in extra oyster shell for calcium and a hand full of dry kitten food for extra protien. Many times egg eating is a sign of deficiency of calcium (shell) or protien (egg white).

    My girls always look forward to me coming because they know a handfull of kitten chow is coming flying into thier run. They don't know weather to greet me at the door for the ones I drop or wait at the back where most of it lands. That along with all the kitchen scraps, left over rice and fallen fruit and veggis from the yard make sure they come to greet me with eager loving anticipation.

    Aloha,
    Cory
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2007
  9. mpc

    mpc Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    22
    May 23, 2007
    Rhode Island
    Figured I would post the outcome...

    I did all of the following:

    -segregated the hen for a few days
    -darkened the nest boxes with a curtain
    -used golf balls in nests and with segregated chicken
    -bumped up the protein level

    So far it has worked, after reintroducing the culprit I havent had any eggs eaten (except by my wife and I!)
     
  10. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

    4,642
    132
    291
    Jan 20, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Way to go on all the progress you have made.... You have made some good decisions and changes so far. Keep in mind that any chicken will eat a broken or soft shell egg that presents itself in the nest or coop. Sometimes the one caught eating isn't the problem at all, but the fortunate one to find the food.... just a thought to keep in mind, and also another reason to take the measures you have taken... Great Job!

    bigzio
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by